Tempted to jump into property? Why you should wait


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If you want to buy a home, the big question is whether you should wait or buy now?

One reason to wait is the flood of properties coming onto the market. Auction clearance rates are dropping and house prices are falling so you will typically pay less for properties.

According to SQM Research, national residential listings jumped 7.9% in November 2018 to 361,619 from 335,014 in October. Louis Christopher, SQM's housing research expert, says property listings are up 20.4% from a year ago.

property buy now or wait

In Melbourne, listings have jumped 32.2% from a year ago as a surplus of properties hits the market. In November alone there were 11.6% more properties for sale.

In Sydney, property listings rose by 7.5% over November to 39,772 properties, the highest reading since 2009, reflecting the slowdown in the nation's biggest city, explained Christopher. There are 20% more properties on the Sydney real estate market than a year ago.

Hobart property listings increased a significant 17.2%, with stock levels down just 1.0% compared to a year earlier.

Listings rose by 12.5% in Canberra in November and there are 22.5% more properties than a year ago.

In Brisbane there are 9.3% more properties over the year, 8.1% in Perth and 5.7% in Adelaide.

"November listings usually jump ahead of the market slowing during the Christmas and New Year's break, so the results are expected," says Christopher. "That said, the year-on-year increases in Sydney and Melbourne are large. The market in these big cities is now flooded with stock."

Capital city average asking prices for houses fell to $932,600 while unit asking prices were steady at $569,300 over the month to December 4, according to SQM research.

Sydney median house prices slipped to $1.274 million, down 5.2% from a year earlier. Unit prices too fell by 1.0% to $696,000, reflecting the surplus of stock in Australia's biggest city.

Canberra's asking house prices in contrast rose by 0.8% over the month to $836,500, up 7.3% from a year ago, the greatest growth of any capital city.

What is Christopher's advice for sellers?

"Vendors who do not price their properties realistically will not sell in this market," says Christopher. "It has been a particularly bad spring selling season for vendors and agents alike. It is also likely this will be the peak in listings for the year as we expect the December reading to fall given the Christmas break.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
Chris Henderson
December 5, 2018 12.56pm

Hi Susan
If only everyone lived in Sydney and Melbourne! The truth is a little more complicated than you describe and whilst you might delay a purchase in Sydney or Melbourne anything sold there probably transfers in part to the other markets. Certainly, prices in the other capital cities are still rising, albeit not by much, but not falling. The panic you decribe is not represented by the facts on the ground and it might be misleading to describe the Australian context by Sydney and Melbourne alone.

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